Vastavam web: Their houses are often made of plastic sheets. Much of their food comes from aid agencies. Jobs are few, and there is painfully little to do. The nightmares are relentless.But six months after their horrors began, the Rohingya Muslims who fled army attacks in Myanmar for refuge in Bangladesh feel one immense consolation.
“Nobody is coming to kill us, that’s for sure,” said Mohammed Amanullah, whose village was destroyed last year just before he left for Bangladesh with his wife and three children. They now live in the Kutupalong refugee camp outside the coastal city of Cox’s Bazar. “We have peace here.” The aid group Doctors Without Borders has estimated at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in Myanmar in the first month of the violence, including at least 730 children younger than 5. The survivors flooded into Bangladesh.
Six months later, there are few signs Rohingya are going home anytime soon.Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed an agreement to gradually repatriate Rohingya in “safety, security and dignity,” but the process has been opaque and the dangers remain. New satellite images have shown empty villages and hamlets leveled, erasing evidence of the Rohingyas’ former lives. And with 700,000 having fled Myanmar since August, more Rohingya continue to flee.The children in the camps face a particularly difficult time. The U.N. estimates children are the heads of 5,600 refugee families.
A survey of children’s lives inside the camps showed they faced an array of terrors, from girls reporting concerns of harassments near the camp toilets to fears that elephants and snakes could attack them as they collect firewood.”We cannot expect Rohingya children to overcome the traumatic experiences they’ve suffered when exposed to further insecurity and fears of violence in the camps,” Mark Pierce, country director for Save the Children in Bangladesh, said in a statement.